Souza will be a solid addition to help fill the void in Arizona’s lineup left by J.D. Martinez. But now a shoulder injury will keep the right fielder out a few weeks to start the year and put pressure on the middle of the order to pick up the slack.
That’s not to say the three and four hitters for the Diamondbacks can’t handle those responsibilities. Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb are more than capable of stabilizing and batting lineup and driving in runs.
It is, however, a disappointment because it takes away an element of protection.
For example, the Cubs typically bat Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo back-to-back in the order so Bryant can see better pitches to hit. Rizzo offers that protection because of how productive he is at the plate.
Souza is no Rizzo, Stanton or Sanchez, but he is a power bat who forces pitchers to be on their A-games when they pitch to him because of his home run potential. The ramifications of Souza’s injury and how it will affect Arizona are still yet to be determined.
Goldschmidt is such a good hitter that it probably won’t affect him too much. Plus, he will most likely have Lamb batting after him, so he should still see plenty of hittable pitches.
As for Lamb, he might not get as many strikes to hit if the opposing pitcher can work around him to face a less intimidating batter such as Alex Avila or Ketel Marte. Nothing against those two batters, but they don’t possess the same offense firepower as Souza.
Regardless of Souza’s untimely injury, the Diamondbacks shouldn’t have any trouble scoring runs early in the season and getting off to a strong start to contest with the Dodgers in the NL West.